The current state of vacation time in the US is troubling to the employees of Global Discovery Vacations: MarketWatch recently reported the results of a survey of American workers that shows that people just aren’t taking the time off that they’ve earned and deserve. According to the study, which was conducted by Harris Interactive for Glassdoor, the average employee takes slightly more than half of the vacation time allowed to him or her.
While a number of factors play a part in people not taking the time off they deserve, what’s clear is that most people should be taking some time off. There are a number of ways you can make sure you actually use your vacation days this year, instead of giving up that paid time off.
The State of American Vacations
The picture painted by the Glassdoor survey isn’t pretty. Even when people are able to take time off, more than 60 percent reported doing some amount of work on their vacation. About a quarter had a co-worker contact them while they were travelling and 20 percent had their bosses contact them. Being contacted by colleagues and supervisors doesn’t exactly set the stage for a relaxing vacation – the people surveyed reported that family members complained about their work activities while vacationing.
Leaving a few vacation days unused each year is the same leaving money on the table, MarketWatch reports. The average employee is given 10 days of vacation every year. Using average income statistics, MarketWatch figures that the average person misses out on $1,300 worth of paid time off annually, by only using half of those days.
One of the driving factors when it comes to skipping vacation is fear of getting behind at work or even being laid off for taking that vacation. Behind this fear is a misunderstanding that vacation time is part of an employee’s benefits and compensation package. Not taking vacation days is similar to ignoring a 401(k) match or not using a company’s health insurance plan.
Another driving factor is a lack of planning on people’s parts. “People always say ‘I’ve always wanted to go to such and such, but I just never planned it,” points out Marcia McGinley, the reservations supervisor for Global Discovery Vacations.
She goes on to say, “We make vacations affordable but, more interestingly, we keep people accountable to take their vacations. They’ve paid for it and planned ahead for it, so it makes them use their time and actually go somewhere.” Taking the effort out of planning is one way to fix up the sorry state of American vacation time.
Why You Need a Vacation
Despite the common thinking that stepping away from work for a few days or a week can have a negative impact on a person’s career, the opposite seems to be true. A study from Ernst & Young, cited by the New York Times in 2013, found a connection between the amount of vacation time employees took and their performance reviews at the end of the year. Review ratings went up by 8 percent for every additional 10 hours of vacation an employee of the firm took. The study also revealed that those who regularly vacationed were more likely to remain at the firm.
Vacationing have a positive impact on performance for a few reasons. Taking a step back from work can actually improve how you approach work-related problems or concerns when you return. Experiencing new things will allow you to approach certain areas of your career with a new perspective. You might be stumped by a work problem before you leave for your trip, but the things you learn or experience while away can help you see the issue in a new light and come up with a better solution upon your return.
Making Sure You Take a Vacation
Figuring out how to take your vacation and making sure you actually do it, is part of the struggle, but it’s well worth it in the end. A travel agency or travel club can make the planning process go more smoothly and alleviate some of the stress connected to putting together a trip.
Working with a travel agency, such as Global Discovery Vacations, “stops the information overload,” suggests Lori Smith, the travel agency manager, “When you go to a travel site, there is just so much to look at, and you might not be sure you’re making the right decision.” A travel agency gives you full support and can recommend the best vacation for you and your family.
“We get feedback a lot from families, ‘thankfully I bought this, the travel club finally got me to spend more time with my family, as opposed to just letting it go,'” notes Stacey Gregory, the creative and communications director for Global Discovery Vacations.
If you feel that your work’s been suffering or that you’re under a lot of stress, some time off could be just the thing to revive your career. Working with an agency such as Global Discovery Vacations will help you plan the trip of your dreams with as little stress as possible.